Lukas Podolski has hit out at Arsenal and Mikel Arteta for their handling of Mesut Ozil and says it’s ‘not okay’ that the midfielder was left out of the club’s Premier League and Europa League squads.
Ozil is Arsenal’s top earner on eye-watering wages of £350,000 but has not played for the Gunners since March and the 32-year-old is unlikely to feature again, with his contract due to expire in 2021.
The German World Cup winner has made his feelings known and recently accused Arsenal of lacking loyalty in an explosive Instagram post which divided opinion amongst fans, pundits and former players.
Arsenal head coach Arteta has repeatedly defended his decision but said he felt like he had ‘failed’ with Ozil last month and Podolski – who was team-mates with both at the Emirates – has been left baffled by the situation.
‘I want to know the background, but I generally think with a player who is now in his sixth or seventh year with the club, to kick him completely out of the squad that’s not okay,’ he told German publication BILD.
‘You don’t do something like that, and I don’t know if something happened in the background or not but even if he’s done something, you don’t do it.
‘I don’t know, of course, if there is something going on in the background or not but even if there is something like that you don’t do it, mainly so you can keep his class on the pitch.’
Just last week, ex-Arsenal captain Laurent Koscielny questioned Arteta’s decision to drop Ozil and stressed that the playmaker ‘undoubtedly’ still had the quality to be a key player in the Premier League.
‘We’re both part of the Arsene Wenger generation. The coach loved him as a player,’ Koscielny told French outlet L’Equipe.
‘It was more complicated with Unai Emery and Mikel Arteta.
‘Knowing him, he must always be professional in training, always on time. ‘He is undoubtedly at the level demanded by the Premier League.
‘There is probably a certain case with the club since last year, I hope both sides find a deal that works for everyone. He is a competitor.
‘As a man, he’s a very good person, who got along with all his teammates. He gave a lot, helped sick children.
‘He is a generous person, with whom I got along very well. As a player, he is in my opinion a phenomenon.
‘He can find passes that no one sees, he’s a maestro. He can rock a game with incredible passes.’